01 June 2009

Its Official!! We have a new home!

Sadie SeaOn Mooring Cruz Bay
St John Island
U.S. Virgin Islands

Its Official!! After four years traveling over 28,000 nautical miles, 30 countries and 5 continents on a near circumnavigation, Team Sandpiper has found their new home!!! We signed the papers on Saturday morning with Captain Ben and Romeo (a whippet/pitbull mix), his agent B.J., Arthur the lawyer and with one simple signature we have taken ownership of the charter boat Sadie Sea.
To celebrate we loaded up the Sadie Sea this morning with Captain Ben and a boat load of friends and took Sadie over to St Thomas for 'bottomless' Bloody Marys and Mimosas at breakfast keeping Sadie tied up in a marina. After copious drinks and many toasts to the end of Captain Ben's tenure aboard Sadie and Team Sandpiper's new beginning, it was a short run back home. With a wave and blow of the horn Captain Ben departed with a tear in his eye and Amy and I took Sadie back to her mooring for the first time by ourselves.

We have a busy week ahead already with just about every day booked for trips and we are looking forward to this new chapter in our adventures. We have been busy these last weeks trying to get all the paperwork associated with running a business processed and it has been a bit challenging since this is our first time at owning a business. There are tons of paperwork that must be filed and people to pay. I have my 100 ton USCG Captains License that I received just before we departed California in 2005 and it is required to drive the Sadie Sea as she carries a max load of 37 passengers in U.S Waters, and 12 passengers on international voyages (BVI's).

A new requirement for any personnel working in a U.S. port is to carry a Transportation Workers Identity Card. I went over to St Thomas and filled out all the forms and had my picture taken, then paid $150.00 and am now just waiting for them to contact me once they get my new card processed.

We have formed a corporation that Sadie Sea will be listed under for tax purposes, and now have applied for approval from the Lt. Governors Office for permission to use the trade name 'Sadie Sea Charters'.

I have turned in a background check to the St John police department that must be approved before we can obtain our Virgin Islands business license. There is quite a process to this whole procedure and with everyone on island time it takes a bit of time. One great thing about St John is the town of Cruz Bay is so small all the offices we need to go to are just blocks from each other.

With the sale of Sadie Sea to us along with the boat we also took ownership of Sadie Sea's mailbox, cell phone, dinghy and outboard, website, and of all things a Jeep! After 4 years we will have to learn to drive again, and on the left side of the road!

St John has grown on us quite quickly and has a real sense of community. People are quite friendly and after just a short amount of time we have met most of the island. There are no rescue services on the island and all land and sea rescues are done by volunteers. Even the U.S. Coast Guard will not respond to a distress call from St John. There are no garbage trucks for picking up trash. So large dumpsters are placed around the island that everybody puts their refuse in for free. There are no mail trucks and anyone who wants to get mail has to have a P.O. Box in town.

While sitting at one of the many open bars it is common to see chickens running about and large iguanas on the prowl. On the Coral Bay side of the island wild donkeys stroll thru town and stand out on business' decks overnight. 

For some reason there are many people on the island with the same name. So everyone gets a one word description added to their names. For example; There is "80's' Matt" who is a great bartender at JJ's bar and has turned out to be a friend of ours. There is "Jew Matt" who well, is Jewish. And there is "Maintenance Matt" who does maintenance in rental houses.

Flights to the Caribbean are quite cheap right now and we expect to see you here soon!!

Team Sandpiper/Team Sadie Sea
Tom and Amy

P.S. Here's out new contact info;

P.O. Box 459
St. John,VI 00831

26 May 2009

Welcome the Sadie Sea!

Team Sandpiper Update 26 May 2009
Anchored Cruz Bay
St John Island
U.S. Virgin Islands

It is finally here, May 26, 2009 (Happy 45th Birthday Sister Janice!!). The end to our countdown and the revealing of our big announcement. We have received several emails and a few comments on the blog from our loyal followers speculating what the news could be. A few of our favorites have been, "Are you having a baby?" or "What bar did you buy?". Thanks for the laughs, but the answer is NO to both of these.

Crazy enough, we have decided to purchase another boat. Not just any boat, but the USVI famous Sadie Sea. She's a shiny red 40' Lindsey Trawler with shaded seating downstairs and a sunny upper deck. Mechanically she is a lot less complicated than the 'Piper so we feel confident the work can be done between the two of us. The business side of the boat is where the challenge will arise for us seeing as how neither of us have any experience in running a small business. Since the boat has been in operation for years on island, it is somewhat of a household name and legend that we plan on carrying on for several years to come.

The current owner, Captain Ben, has been nothing short of amazing to work with on this deal. The boat has been in his family for over 20 years and has always been operating as a charter. He's not only let us job shadow himself and his crew Kristi these last two weeks, he's been a great friend to us since day 1 of our arrival. We have shared several drinks and meals swapping sea stories and he's even let us use his shower!

The boat runs half and full day charters around the island taking in some of the beautiful beaches and crystal clear waters where the snorkeling in our opinion, is the best in the Caribbean. Since St. John is two-thirds Nation Park, one of the most popular tourist activities on island is hiking. The National Parks run a 'Reef Bay Hike' anywhere from 1 to 4 times a week with a maximum of 37 people down the 3 mile trail and the Sadie Sea is there to greet you at the end where we will run everyone back to Cruz Bay. This trip is so popular and with a 37 passenger limit there is constantly a waiting list during busy season. When you come to visit us be sure to book this St. John 'must do' well in advance.

She also does a lot of work with VIERS (Virgin Islands Environment Research Station). These are usually school groups of all ages, scout troops, and environmental enthusiast groups. They can book the boat for a half or full day charter where we take them to some of the great snorkel stops on island.

Today we helped with an Arawak trip, a 5 day kayak trip from the BVI's back to the USVI's. Sadie Sea was loaded up with kayak's and gear bags and off we went to West End, Tortola to check all passengers in to customs. Then just a few miles from there we drop them off on a sandy beach with their gear and guide on Peter Island, BVI, where they will camp and paddle thier way back to St. John with a few other stops in between.

It is definitely still a learning process for us seeing as how we don't know all the exciting history and secret spots just yet. But we have been busy picking Ben's brain on a daily basis. One lesson we have learned thru this process is 'island time' really does exist. We were hoping for today to be our first official start day. But 'island time' has pushed this back just a few days and we are now shooting for June 1st.

With us now busy being workin' folk, our blog posts won't be as often as previous. But we do plan to still keep it up and running. We also plan to put the Sandpiper back on the market. So if you are looking to buy the World Famous Sandpiper, she is available.

Be sure to check out the Sadie Sea website and start making your plans to come and visit us.

One Love
Amy and Tom

25 May 2009

Countdown: 1 days to go

1 day till a major Sandpiper announcement!!! (tomorrow May 26th)

24 May 2009

Countdown: 2 days to go

2 days till a major Sandpiper announcement!!! (May 26th)

23 May 2009

Countdown: 3 days to go

3 days till a major Sandpiper announcement!!! (May 26th)

22 May 2009

Countdown: 4 days to go

4 days till a major Sandpiper announcement!!! (May 26th)

21 May 2009

Countdown: 5 days to go

5 days till a major Sandpiper announcement!!! (May 26th)